Governor welcomed Muslims to pray at Statehouse, vice president applauds their exclusion from America
My refugee travel document was issued by Egypt as a result of the Israeli occupation of my parents’ hometown of Yebna, Palestine, in June 1948.
My parents sought refuge in Qatar in the early 1960s due to continued military expansionism by the state of Israel and helped build Qatar as a businessman (my father) and a teacher (my mother). Qatar, like the majority of Arab countries, unfortunately, does not naturalize you even if you were born and raised there. My parents’ dedication to providing a better life for their children led them to seek refuge again in Canada in 1996.
I became a Canadian citizen in 2000, at the age of 22, then moved to the U.S. and have been calling this country home since then.
I became a full-fledged American citizen on June 15, 2012. On Aug. 22, 2012, at the Indiana Statehouse and in the presence of more than 100 people and then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, I kicked off the Muslim Alliance of Indiana’s annual Governor’s Iftar (breaking of the fast) with a recitation of the following verse from the Holy Quran, 2:183: “O believers, fasting is enjoined on you as it was on those before you, so that you might become righteous.”
The annual Governor’s Iftar was an event Daniels began hosting once elected, a symbolic gesture of inclusivity and a celebration of one aspect of our Hoosier diversity. After all, Indiana is home to many Muslims who contribute to the economic, civil and political dynamics of our state – Muslims who were born and raised here, generation upon generation, and Muslims who chose Indiana as the place where they can realize their full potential.
At the conclusion of the program, I led a Muslim prayer in the atrium with more than 50 Muslims in congregation. It was a day that I will never forget, a day I boast about to many of my friends who live in different countries around the world. I tell them, “There I was, a citizen for two months, standing in the middle of the most symbolic of state governmental institutions and in the company of people from all walks of life, celebrating my faith. This is why I became an American citizen; this is why I call America home.”
A year later, when Mike Pence became Indiana’s governor, there was a little bit of concern from the Muslim community about whether or not Pence would continue the tradition his predecessor started. Much to our pleasant surprise, Pence agreed to continue with the iftar and attended the first one with his wife. I recall that he was very personable and easy to talk to. He made everyone feel welcome and was indeed a gracious host.
Fast forward to now – the country is in an absolute frenzy. An executive order issued by President Donald Trump bans people who almost exactly fit my profile from entering my country.
And there, next to the man who issued such a decree, is Pence, the man who once told a very similar crowd, “We love having you here.” The man who on Dec. 8, 2015 said, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional” is now applauding such a ban.
So I would also like to ask Mr. Pence, will you be the same gracious host you were then? Will you welcome a group of American Muslims who, just like the rest of our great nation, come from all different corners of the world and our great country? Will you sit comfortably and listen to the Quran being recited by a Muslim immigrant of Palestinian origin, just like you did then?
When you say, “Life is winning again in America,” whose life are you speaking about?
I appreciate the fact that, as a Christian, you “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” but let’s not forget the rest of Proverbs 31:8-9.
It continues “for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Article originally posted by Journal Gazette on 02/02/2017
Palestinian, Muslim, American, Husband, Father, Academic, Pharmacist, Coffee Addict, Nutella phene, Pseudo writer, Soccer player, former Canadian, Community servant, Pinch hitter imam, interfaith ninja, Intellectual vigilante, and the undisputed KING of snark